BME Seminar Series: Dr. Carlos Castro, OSU
"Self-assembly of DNA nanomechanical devices"
Structural DNA nanotechnology is a rapidly emerging field with exciting potential for applications such as single molecule sensing, drug delivery, and manipulating molecular components. Realizing the functional potential of DNA nanodevices and nanomachines requires the ability to design dynamic mechanical behavior such as complex motion, conformational dynamics, or force generation. Our lab has established to design DNA nanodevices with programmable 1D, 2D, and 3D motion and programmed or externally controlled conformational dynamics. I will present our approach to design DNA nanomechanical devices and our recent work to develop methods to manipulate dynamic DNA nanodevices via external magnetic fields by coupling the motion of micron-scale magnetic beads to nanoscale DNA machines. A major focus of our research is to develop devices where nanoscale dynamic behavior (i.e. motion, conformational distributions, and kinetics) can be exploited to probe physical properties or manipulate nanoscale components or molecular interactions in real time. I will discuss two ongoing projects, one focused on developing nanodevices that can probe chromatin structure and dynamics, and a second project focused on functionalizing cell membranes with DNA nanodevices that can control and probe local interactions on the surface of live cells.
Professor Castro received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering both in 2005 from The Ohio State University and his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2009. He then spent 1.5 years as an Alexander von Humboldt post-doctoral fellow at the Technische Universität München working in the field of DNA nanotechnology. Dr. Castro returned to The Ohio State University in 2011 as a faculty member in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. His laboratory focuses on the self-assembly of DNA nanomechanical devices to probe biophysical function of molecular and cellular systems. He has received multiple honors including an NSF Career award, a Fulbright fellowship, and OSU research and teaching awards; and his lab has pioneered the design and implementation of DNA nanomachines with complex motion and mechanical behavior.